Repurposing Waste Streams: Lessons on Integrating Hospital Food Waste into a Community Garden
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There have been increasing efforts in recent decades to divert institutional food waste into composting programs. As major producers of food waste who must increasingly demonstrate community benefit, hospitals have an incentive to develop such programs. In this article, we explain the emerging opportunity to link hospitals’ food services to local community gardens in order to implement robust composting programs. We describe a partnership model at our hospital in central Pennsylvania, share preliminary outcomes establishing feasibility, and offer guidance for future efforts. We also demonstrate that the integration of medical students in such efforts can foster systems thinking in the development of programs to manage hospital waste streams in more ecologically-friendly ways.
KeywordsFood waste Curriculum development Health care systems Systems thinking Environmental health
A Human Health and the Environment Seed-Grant was provided by the Institutes of Energy and the Environment at Penn State University.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
We report no conflicts of interest.
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